Sunday, June 21, 2009

Art Show Tent

Our new tent is in and we put it up for the first time this weekend.

We have been doing local art shows and design shows around town for some time now. Until recently our tent of choice was a pop-up style tent, (around $200 at Costco). It is quick to put up and take down, easy to carry around in the car, it isn't very water proof and the wind does knock it around quite a bit, but all in all a nice tent. However some recent circumstances have led us to believe we need a new tent. We have been trying for and getting into some bigger art fairs. We have noticed some of the other artist have very grand tents with custom features that make them look very professional. We have also noticed those tents are waterproof and seem to hold well in the wind. Last month we loaned out our tent to a friend that was doing an art show in Oklahoma. While there our little $200 tent withstood torrential downpoors with ankle deep running water and 70 mph strait line winds. Our friend added extra weight to the tent and worried about it all night. The next day our tent was one that was still standing although it did have a few tears in the side walls and everything on the inside was completely soaked. We decided that we didn't want to go through this ourselves and started the search for the perfect tent.

After much searching we decided on the TrimLine Canopy from the Flourish Company of St Paul AR. The reasons were many: it has a steel frame (heavy) both good and bad really, it has a sun roof of sorts to let more light in, vents in the top of the canopy for those really hot days, it is very customizable, and the guy I talked to on the phone seemed very knowledgeable and nice. So we ordered the tent on a Friday and it came in the very next Thursday. We assembled the tent for the first time this weekend, and this is how it went...

Stage 1:
We threw all four heavy boxes out on the back lawn opened them up and set aside the instructions. Then we contemplated the impending rain.

Stage 2
Deciding to ignore a few sprinkles we started to look for the now lost instructions. After finally finding the slightly wet instructions the rain was coming down a little harder, but is was too late, we had already started, there was no turning back. We slowly and painstakingly set out all the parts to the top of the canopy, then located the correct parts to the top of the canopy and set them out as well. Once we had the top part of the frame assembled we layed the top of the canopy over it. After taking a few minutes to admire our handy work and a brief discussion about who's idea it was to start a project like this in the rain we quickly moved on to the walls as it seemed to be raining a bit harder now and we needed shelter.

Stage 3
After searching for what seemed like hours and not finding the Easy Riser Kit we ordered with our tent we decided to put the legs on without it, Then immediately took them off sized them to the correct height and put them back on again. We were moving along at quite a fast past now, and we finally had something that would shelter us from the impending storm.

Stage 4
Now having a dry place to work we drug the wet boxes in under the canopy and zipped the walls on. This was a great time to relax in our new dry almost complete tent and contemplate extra parts. There seemed to be a disturbing number of extra parts but we soon realized in our haste to build cover from the rain we completely neglected to install the front and rear Awnings. With that mystery solved we quickly moved on to stage 5.

Stage 5
Finally we put on the front tent wall! This was the last step and cause for celebration. All in all we didn't quite get all of it put together and we got very wet but for the most part we accomplished what we set out to do, so we played around in it a little. About thirty minutes later it stopped raining and the sun came out. Not long after that we took our new tent down, now full of pride knowing that we too have a big fancy tent like all the other artists at the art fairs. Taking it down went very smoothly and quickly, and I'm sure the next time we need to put it up in the rain it will be a much smoother operation. In all I would highly recommend the TrimLine Canopy however don't bother trying to put it up for the first time in the rain.


Anonymous said...

Great looking tent, enjoyed your "story" very much Andrea--very well written!

Shelly said...

I had to leave a note to tell you that this post was REALLY helpful. I'm getting ready to start doing art fairs, and I really wasn't sure what to do for a tent. Your post was a definite help! Thanks! :)